Hero Dad! Oklahoma parent banned from school grounds after asking for pornographic book to be removed
An Owasso (Oklahoma) parent says he was banned from school grounds for trying to keep pornography out of the school library.
NewsChannel 8 asked the parent: Do you consider yourself to be a threat? "Absolutely not," Tim Reiland responded.
But the letter Reiland recently received from Owasso Public School's Superintendent, Dr. Margaret Coates, describes him as just that and has prohibited him from school property.
"You are hereby directed to leave the Owasso Public Schools and all of its grounds including sports events, sports venues, and not return," Reiland read from the letter Coates sent him
All of this, the fallout from Reiland's efforts to have a graphic novel removed from the school library after his 14-year-old daughter randomly checked it out and told him what was in it.
"There was children with their penises showing that were urinating in each others' faces. There was scenes, and this is graphic, images of ejaculation. There are scenes of teen sex. There are also scenes of a child, a child being raped in the book, and all in graphic depiction," he said.
When he first told school officials about it, he says they didn't pay him much mind until he brought copies of the pages to the assistant superintendent who then, he says, pulled the book for review.
"I was very happy with that. I thanked them; I sent emails thanking them," said Reiland.
He then went to the school board meeting on October 10, hoping the district would create a policy that addressed his concerns. Other parents spoke to the board as well.
"We get pushback as parents saying, 'Well you're just trying to ban books or burn books.' No, we're not. We're just trying to protect our children from pornography," said another parent.
Despite their efforts, there was no such vote on a policy change.
"It feels to me like the district is afraid to be forced to hold any of their employees accountable if they mess up," said Reiland.
After the meeting, he spoke to one of the board members about the issue, and a few days later, he received the letter that now bans him from school property.
NewsChannel 8 asked Reiland: Can you pick up your kids? "I cannot pick up my children without written permission from Margaret Coates. It feels very retaliatory."
A parent in an ongoing dispute with the Owasso school district regarding alleged pornography in the school library has won a significant legal battle. A federal judge has issued an injunction that thwarts the school district's effort to prevent the parent from attending school board meetings.
Reiland sued, arguing his First Amendment free-speech rights have been violated by the school. This week, U.S. District Judge John F. Heil agreed to issue a temporary injunction that prevents the school from restricting Reiland's access to school property, finding that Reiland "is likely to succeed on the merits of his First Amendment claim and this factor weighs heavily in favor of granting preliminary injunctive relief."
"It is well established that the right to criticize public officials and the right to 'petition the Government for a redress of grievances' are protected activities under the First Amendment&" Heil wrote. "Plaintiff's criticism of the Board's decision as 'f---ing b------t,' while vulgar and arguably unnecessary, is protected speech."
Heil also wrote that Owasso's effort to ban Reiland from school grounds "has an obvious chilling effect."